Reply To: 177 or 22 ?

Forums General Discussion 177 or 22 ? Reply To: 177 or 22 ?

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A few decades ago when living in West Virginia I started with .177 cal HW springers (.177 HW50, .177 Beeman R10, .177 HW77k, .177 Beeman R9) which were used for general plinking, pest control and squirrel hunting. The "skinny pellet" worked well but then I bought into the "fat pellet mo gooder hype" and bought a .20 R9. I used that .20 R9 for about a year and was rather disappointed that the larger .20 cal dome pellet didn't drop a tree squirrel any quicker than a .177 dome with "through the vitals hits" and .20 pellets that missed the vitals weren't any better than a .177 that missed the vitals. Then I bought a .22 cal R1 barrel, sent it off to be "chopped and choked" for use with my R9 and used it for six months and finding that it wasn't any better than the .20 when it comes to dropping squirrels. I ended up selling both the .20 & .22 replacing both with .177 never to look back!

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised because in my "rimfire for squirrels days" I had more than a couple take a 100+fps double lung hit and still travel several feet to get into it's "tree hole".

On one particular WV squirrel hunt with my brother we were stalking down a trial in the woods, taking turns shooting the squirrels we saw within range. I was using my .177 R10 and my brother was using his .22 rimfire with high speed short hollow point ammo. Those 29 grain short hollow points checked out at 1000-1100 fps and about 70fpe (not very consistent velocity) when shot over the chrony. We came upon a squirrel in the path 20 yards away and it was my brothers turn to take a shot so he offhanded the squirrel. The squirrel straight up into the air with the shot making a mad dash into the woods. I was laughing and commented to my brother "chuck a rock next time" thinking he missed. Well, that squirrel ran 10 yards to the base of a large oak tree, started to climb the trunk, then fell off dead after climbing about 3 feet! Retrieving the squirrel we found that the .22 hollowpoint was perfectly placed through the ribs and the exit hole was large enough to put a finger through. When cleaning the squirrels taken that day we noted that the "double lunged squirrel" also had the top half of the heart removed by the .22 hollowpoint. LOL….if a squirrel can take that kind of ".22 rimfire fpe" and still travel several feet with a double lung hit then I really don't think it matters much if hit with a piddly <10fpe from a .22 cal pellet.

When hunting squirrels in WV, out to my 30 yard zero distance using a R9 springer I didn't notice a "nickels difference" which cal I used, but past my zero distance the larger pellets definitely were a disadvantage with my R9 class springers due to the loopy trajectory. Using a 30 yard zero with the .177 cal barrel I could reliably brain a squirrel at 40 yards. Misjudging the distance a couple yards wasn't too critical, however with either the .20 or .22 cal pellet mis judging the distance by a couple yards was a wounded or missed squirrel.

My personal opinion based on shooting .20 & .22 cal pellets from my R9…..if you want to use the "fat pellets" get a PCP!